For the friends of John “Dax” Dunn, his disappearance is a mystery.
The 40-year-old, aircraft mechanic left his wife and four children in Newnan, Georgia, on Friday, Feb. 14, to come to Florida for a four-day fishing vacation.
He never returned.
His friends and family filed a missing person’s report with the Coweta County’s Sheriff’s Office. Locally, the sheriff’s offices of Levy, Citrus and Marion County, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have launched a search and found nothing.
“Anything is possible. But we’re kind of at a dead end at this point,” said Aaron Stathan, one of three Dunn friends and coworkers who have come from Georgia to help find him.
This is what his friends and law enforcement know.
Dunn drove from Georgia in his 2013, white Nissan frontier, crew cab pickup. On Saturday, Feb. 15, the retired U.S. Marine stopped at the Marathon gas station on U.S. 19 and State Road 40.
Stathan and his friends went to the gas station and watched security video showing Dunn at the counter of the store. A copy of his credit card receipt shows he bought three packs of cigarettes, two energy drinks, a Gatorade and a Little Caesars Pizza.
On that day, he also rented a room at an Inglis motel. On Monday, Feb. 17, Dunn rented a 10.5-foot-long, lime green kayak and life vest from Paddles Outdoor Rentals in Crystal River, according to a receipt his friends and family later found.
He never returned the kayak and never made it home.
Then on Tuesday, March 3, investigators caught a break.
Someone reported Dunn’s truck in a slightly wooded area near a boat ramp at the end of State Road 40 near Yankeetown.
“There was an extensive search of the area by air, water and land but they didn’t find him,” Stathan told the Chronicle.
Sheriff’s deputies found Dunn’s fishing rods and reels in the bed of the truck. The truck was locked. A travel bag with his clothes were still inside as well as a cooler.
Missing from the truck were Dunn’s keys, wallet and pistol.
Also missing from the truck was Dunn’s spear gun. The kayak and life vest were also missing.
“Islands known to be used as primitive camp site locations in the general vicinity of the Yankeetown and Crystal River area were systematically searched by deputies and FWC investigators, yet no evidence of Mr. Dunn was found,” according to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office website.
Stathan said his friend’s truck was parked so close to a palm tree that the truck badly scraped the tree trunk. Stathan said he doesn’t understand why his friend left the truck next to the tree rather than parking it a second time.
“No theory you come up with lines up with the facts,” Stathan said.
“We want to get the word out … about (Dunn),” he said. “And as long as we’re productive (in the search), we’re staying here.”
The family is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to finding Dunn.
The Levy County Sheriff’s Office is also asking for help.
The LCSO and the family of Mr. Dunn are still hopeful he will be located, a news release stated.
Anyone who has information is asked to contact the LCSO at 352-486-5111, the LCSO said.